Author Topic: Varying U & C for OON claims?  (Read 3628 times)

thatcuteblonde

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Varying U & C for OON claims?
« on: May 18, 2009, 11:24:51 AM »
Hi everyone!

Is anyone aware of a reason that the reasonable (or usual) and customary amount would vary within the same insurance company? My understanding is R & C amounts are based on the average billed amount by other providers of the same specialty in your geographical area. However, I have seen the 'allowed' amount range from $13.98 to $55.90 for the same service billed by the same provider/area/time frame. Sometimes it's even on the same EOB!

This happens with some of the companies that we are contracted with, though there's not much we can do about it, however for the ones that we are not contracted with, it's a pretty big discrepancy between these amounts. Anyone have any insight into this one?

Michele

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 04:05:24 PM »
Allowed amount doesn't always mean R&C.  That is why the amounts vary within the insurance carrier.  For example our local BC has 3 different allowed amounts for the same codes, 1 for indemnity plans, 1 for PPO, and 1 for HMO's. 

If you are not contracted I would think it would be the R&C.  I would call with 2 examples and ask how the amounts are determined.

Michele
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PMRNC

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 05:37:01 PM »

Contracted = Allowed Amount
Non Contracted = U&C  or R&C
Linda Walker
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Michele

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 07:19:03 PM »
Thanks Linda, that's what I thought but I when I went to type it I questioned myself.  I was confused (which today isn't that hard to do!) because she seemed to indicate that the amounts varied even when out of network, and that didn't make sense.

Michele
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Pay_My_Claims

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 06:56:34 AM »

Contracted = Allowed Amount
Non Contracted = U&C  or R&C

We are non-par and we are always billed the *allowed amount/Contracted rate*. Our eob will be as follows

BCBS

Billed Charges    Contracted          Disallowed    Deductible  Copay/coins    Remaining Member exp     Amt Paid
 $6579.00         $5,765.00           $814.00       $500.00         00.00            $1314.00                     $5265.00

We as a non-par provider can just balance bill the disallowed charges to the client. I have never had a payor charge less or more simply because we were "non par"

PMRNC

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 07:32:03 AM »
You didn't indicate what the "disallowed" was. If it was denied for U&C, and you have confirmed that the claim was processed as "NON" par then you can bill the patient for any amounts over U&C. You could also appeal the claim or have the patient appeal it, either way it is appealed, most likely the doctor will need to send in something so it's just easier to appeal then and there rather than try and collect from the patient and then they will need the info to do the appeal.You however are in the right if you should bill the patient, just keep in mind most won't pay those fees until they have exhausted appeals.  :'(

I would also think you might want to check par status with the carrier, for non par they don't usually use the word "Contracted Rate" on a non par EOB... and disallowed would have an explanation as to why it was disallowed in the remarks area.

Linda Walker
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thatcuteblonde

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 02:26:45 PM »
I was referring to United Healthcare, we are not contracted however for all the PPO policies the U & C amount has been varying. I understand we can bill the patient, however I am unsure as to why the insurance wouldn't have the same U & C amount for the same CPT code when both patients have a PPO policy...

PMRNC

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 02:30:44 PM »
same provider? U&C comes from 90th percentile using HIAA and is determined by geographical location.
You could try taking two EOB's from SAME plan (can be diff patients) and calling UHC to ask them.
Also make sure the EOB reads the fee was cut for U&C, again, it's not normal for them to use the word "contracted" on NON par providers EOB's.. Could it be possible they are mistakenly processing some charges as in network?

Too hard to say without having all the info and the EOB's in front of me. Best bet is to call UHC on it.
Linda Walker
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Pay_My_Claims

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 03:18:40 PM »
I was referring to United Healthcare, we are not contracted however for all the PPO policies the U & C amount has been varying. I understand we can bill the patient, however I am unsure as to why the insurance wouldn't have the same U & C amount for the same CPT code when both patients have a PPO policy...

It can vary based upon the employer. It could be a self insured group plan.

PMRNC

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 07:01:01 PM »
Quote
It can vary based upon the employer. It could be a self insured group plan.

No, the employer or plan type does not play a part in calculations:

Usual, customary and reasonable is the maximum amount the insurer will consider eligible for reimbursement under a
health insurance plan. This amount is determined based on a review of the prevailing charges made by peer physicians for a particular health service within a specific community or geographical area. Commonly UCR is set at a certain percentage of all charges made by providers of similar services or supply, most often at the 80th-90th percentile.

Insurers are allowed to define “eligible expense” or “maximum allowable expense” within the policy and to determine the method used to calculate payment for non-participating provider claims, including the percentile of usual and customary that will be paid. 

I used to work at 3 biig carriers so I know how U&C works and the sneakiness behind it. Some states tried to enact laws against carriers doing this but none have succeeded, there has to be a formula for carriers to limit doctors from inflating bills..  What you can do as a biller..??

If you have a lot of high dollar claims.. not only should you verify benefits but you want to do what's called a Pre-determination of benefits. Carriers WILL not disclose U&C over the phone, they are not allowed to. When you do a pre-determination the carrier will give you (in writing) a response that YES the claim falls within their U&C fee or NO it is $XXX.XX over the U&C. That will give YOU a heads up and the patient too.

Now to appeal U&C is not so cut/dry. The carrier holds the cards, however the claims examiners DO have some sort of administrative authority.. For example; let's say you have an $800 charge that $200 was denied as being over U&C. When you do your appeal you need to include SOMETHING with the appeal that was not submitted the first time around that will cause the claim to get looked at for extenuating circumstances.. most often that would be the operative report or even the office notes. If there is nothing out of the ordinary to prove your appeal, there's still no loss by doing a simple letter of appeal, in some cases the carrier will allow the full amount that was denied the first time and sometimes they will Partially reimburse a little more. Technically speaking the provider does NOT have to do the appeal, however they do have to make the effort to give the patient what they need to do the appeal.  As someone who has worked as a claims examiner I can tell you that the patient holds MORE clout with the carrier than the provider (just the way it is) a typical response to a patient calling to complain about the amount not covered is to have them complain to the carrier, however I can tell you when the patient calls the carrier, they will explain how U&C is calculated and the provider will look like the crook  ::)  I know this because we were trained on how to do that.  So my best advice is to be the good guy and file the appeal as a courtesy to the patient. Bill the excess charges and include a message/note that you will appeal the charge as a courtesy. This gives the patient a heads up and they can follow-up but at same time they are responsible for the excess fees.

Again.. prevention is best.. have the biller or someone in get efficient and get pre-determination's done so that you can avoid these surprises. 

Hope this somehow explains it..
Linda Walker
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One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
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Pay_My_Claims

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 11:17:12 PM »
You didn't indicate what the "disallowed" was. If it was denied for U&C, and you have confirmed that the claim was processed as "NON" par then you can bill the patient for any amounts over U&C. You could also appeal the claim or have the patient appeal it, either way it is appealed, most likely the doctor will need to send in something so it's just easier to appeal then and there rather than try and collect from the patient and then they will need the info to do the appeal.You however are in the right if you should bill the patient, just keep in mind most won't pay those fees until they have exhausted appeals.  :'(

I would also think you might want to check par status with the carrier, for non par they don't usually use the word "Contracted Rate" on a non par EOB... and disallowed would have an explanation as to why it was disallowed in the remarks area.



I can send you EOB's with the names & policy numbers etc blackened out we ALWAYS get billed with the term "contracted" rated and disallowed is what we billed minus the allowed amount. If we charged over U&C and they denied for that, yes we could appeal that as to be able to bill the client, but we have never had that happen.

PMRNC

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Re: Varying U & C for OON claims?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2009, 06:05:16 AM »
You don't have to appeal to bill the patient. The appeal is just a courtesy. You can bill the patient for anything over U&C.
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com